The No. 14 Wisconsin vs. No. 5 Ohio State Big Ten Championship betting spread is much different than they would have been had Ohio State’s Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback was playing.
Because Ohio State is down to its third string quarterback, 14 ranked Wisconsin is the favorite to win the Big Ten Championship. Can Ohio State overcome the loss of their best player to upset Wisconsin on Saturday and stamp their ticket to the College Football Playoff?
OSU was a favorite when J.T. Barrett was slated to play in Big Ten championship. Now, the Buckeyes are an underdog. pic.twitter.com/lNt2jP7NBW
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) December 1, 2014
No. 14 Wisconsin Badgers vs. No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes
When: Saturday, Dec. 6 at 8:17 pm ET
Betting Line: Wisconsin -4
Analyzing TheWisconsin vs. Ohio State Big Ten Championship Betting Spread
It’s going to be impossible for Ohio State coach Urban Meyer to replace J.T. Barrett at the quarterback position. Barrett turned into one of the best players in college football and had a shot at winning the Heisman. If Cardale Jones was that good, he would have started ahead of Barrett when Braxton Miller got hurt. Barrett leapfrogged Jones, a sophomore, and quickly began to shine under center for the Buckeyes.
What can Cardale Jones bring to the table to help Ohio State win this game? The truth is that there isn’t much that he can or probably will do. Before Barrett got hurt, Ohio State was likely to only be a 3 to 4 point favorite against Wisconsin who has one of the best defenses in the nation. Without Barrett, Ohio State could get blown out in this contest, although a 7 to 10 point win is more likely to happen on Saturday night.
Ohio State’s entire offense revolved around the play-making ability of Barrett who had thrown for 2834 yards and 34 touchdowns while rushing for eleven more before getting hurt. Jones isn’t the same player. Wisconsin knows this. The Badgers’ D is only allowing 16.8 points, ranked fourth in the nation, and 260.3 yards per game, ranked second in the nation. Ohio State’s offense might have had a difficult time with Barrett, without Barrett the Buckeyes are going to have an incredibly difficult time moving the ball.
Wisconsin has a slight issue on offense as well. Running back Melvin Gordon, their Heisman Trophy candidate, has a sprained ankle. Gordon is scheduled to go, but even if he can’t, Wisconsin is in better shape on offense than Ohio State because Corey Clement is averaging 6.5 yards per carry. Clement averaged 12.7 yards per carry against Minnesota when rushing for 89 yards on 7 carries.
Ohio State’s defense is good, but it’s not great. Teams can run against the Buckeyes’ front seven. Minnesota actually rushed for 277 yards against Ohio State while Michigan rushed for 122 yards. Wisconsin averages 334.2 yards per game on the ground. That makes the Badgers the best rushing team that Ohio State has faced all season long.
The trends in this game are meaningless because of Ohio State’s quarterback situation. The Buckeyes have very little time to prepare Jones to face such a good defense. If Wisconsin gets their rushing attack going, and nobody has been able to stop it yet this season including LSU who gave up 268 yards to Wisconsin on the ground in Week 2, the Badgers will roll to a possible double-digit victory over Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship.